TOKYO: David Beckham has denied that it was him rather than Manchester United who instigated his sale to Real Madrid.
At a press conference here on Thursday, the England captain curtly dismissed reports that he had instructed his agent to find him a new club after a dressing room bust-up with United manager Sir Alex Ferguson back in February.
“That never went on,” Beckham said. “When the club came to a decision on the money side of it then it was my decision after that. For me it is a good decision.”
British media coverage of the build-up to Beckham's move to Real has generally portrayed the player as the victim of United's determination to cash in on their most marketable asset.
When it was announced earlier this month that United had agreed to sell Beckham to Barcelona, the English club was widely accused of stabbing its star player in the back.
But United chief executive Peter Kenyon claimed that the club had been left with no option but to sell after Beckham had stalled on signing a new contract he was offered last month.
“Normally, when a player has two years left on his contract we either renew his deal or accept that it might be best he move on elsewhere, allowing us to earn a fee on his sale,” Kenyon said.
“What does not make sense for the club is to let top players leave at the end of their contract on a free transfer.
“In David's case, our approach in mid-May to his advisors about extending his current deal, which had just two years to run, did not meet with an immediate positive response.”
Beckham's hesitation, coupled with the interest from Spanish and Italian clubs, led to United's decision to sell, Kenyon said.
“We were also told by the player's advisors at the SFX agency that they, too, had been contacted by foreign clubs about David.
“It was at this point that it became clear a transfer deal involving David might prove beneficial not only for the club but also for the player.”
Beckham said he now wanted to put the acrimony associated with his transfer behind him and concentrate on the new chapter in his career.
“Of course I would have been happier if the transfer had been done differently,” he said.
“I think things went on that I wouldn't have been happy about. But I don't want to talk about that side of it. I'm a Real Madrid player now and I'm looking forward to it.”
The midfielder apologised to his new Real team-mates for having generated so much attention just days before they play their final league match of the season with the title at stake.
“I want to apologise to the players because all this has not been caused by me,” he said. “I did not want to detract from them fighting for the league. I wish them good luck.”
Beckham also revealed he had discussed his move to Real with England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.
“I wouldn't have done it if it affected my England career,” he said.
“I have spoken to Mr Eriksson about it and he just said to me 'Whatever you do, it doesn't matter what club you are playing for, it doesn't affect you being England captain'.”
Beckham said he was looking forward to the challenges off the field as well as on it.
“I am a Real Madrid player now and I am looking forward to it. It is an exciting thing for the whole family.”
“I know a few phrases of Spanish. I haven't started lessons yet but I know how to ask for the bill in a restaurant!”
Beckham also revealed that he was not bothered by the fact that he will be unable to wear his favourite number seven shirt at Real because it is currently the possession of star striker Raul.
“I have heard all this that I wanted the number seven shirt. I would never think of taking that off Raul because I think he is the king of Real Madrid,” Beckham said.
“I have not discussed that (shirt numbers) with Real. I have not even said I want number seven. Whatever number they give me I am happy.” – AFP